Prayer Psalm: 106
Prayer Point: I hear echoes of the thief on the cross when I read this psalm. He is dying the death he deserves, but in faith he looks to Jesus and asks, “remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42; Psalm 106:4). God does allow us to suffer the consequences of our sin, but he still hears us when we cry out for mercy. Even when it is our fault. He answered the prayer of the thief, he answered Israel’s prayer and he will answer yours. With this knowledge, boldly lift your needs to God today.
How would you describe Jesus’ relationship with God the Father? Who takes the lead and who follows? How do they work together when it comes to raising the dead and giving eternal life?
What needs to happen for someone to receive eternal life from God the Father and God the Son?
The Son of Man is not a generic title for Jesus, but a reference to a vision the prophet Daniel received which is recorded in Daniel 7:13-14. In this vision there are two characters ‘The Ancient of Days’ (God the Father) and ‘one like a son of man’ (Jesus).
In my vision at night I looked and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away … (Daniel 7:13-14)
How does Daniel 7:13-14 shed light on Jesus’ identity and his authority? When will Jesus exercise his authority as a judge?
Acts 7:44 – 8:1
Stephen has been accused of preaching against the teachings of Moses which was the heart of the Jewish faith. Stephen, to show that Jesus’ teaching was in line with the law of Moses, recounts the history of Israel and Jesus’ place in it. Today’s reading is the dramatic conclusion of that courageous sermon which began in Acts 7:2.
The tabernacle and Solomon’s temple where places where God’s presence graciously lived with his people. How do we know that the tabernacle and the temple were only temporary, shadows of what was to come? What are buildings unable to do in verse 48?
The point Stephen is making is that real temple was Jesus. A temple is more than a building, it is simply the place where God’s presence lives. In Jesus, the fullness of God’s presence was not in a building made of stone, but a living, breathing human being. He was God in the flesh who had come down to live with his people. But the Jewish authorities missed it.
How does Stephen connect the crucifixion of Jesus to the Jewish prophets who were persecuted before him? Why do you think this enraged the crowd?
On earth, Stephen faces a mob so furious that they drag him out of the city and begin to stone him to death. What does Stephen see in heaven, despite what is happening to him on earth? What effect does this vision have on Stephen? Who does he remind you of? See Luke 23:23-46. Who does Luke, the author of Acts, note is standing there giving approval to Stephen’s murder? Look for this man to play a prominent role as this story develops.
In case you were wondering, “fell asleep” was an early Christian way of saying that he died. It emphasizes the temporary nature of death which we will be reversed at our resurrection when Christ returns.
Turn back and read Acts 1:8. How are Christ’s purposes for the church accomplished, even in the death of Stephen?
Judges 17:1-13 – Micah and his priest
What does this upstanding man admit to his mother? (Micah admits to his mother that he had stolen the eleven hundred shekels (about 28 pounds) of silver.)
What odd thing does his mother say to this? (“Then his mother said, ‘The LORD bless you, my son!’” (Judges 17:2 NIV) I promise you that would not have been my attitude! – j.t.)
What paradoxically hypocritical thing does this woman say next? (“I solemnly consecrate my silver to the LORD for my son to make a carved image and a cast idol.” (Judges 17:3 NIV))
What in verse six of this chapter explains why this woman did what she did? (“In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” (NIV) Or as it says in the ESV “… Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Again, the importance of teaching the scripture to our families cannot be underscored enough.)
What does Micah do with the silver? (Micah makes a shrine and installs one of his sons as his own priest. Everyone should have one! – j.t.)
As luck would have it a wandering Levite from Bethlehem stumbled onto Micah’s place. How fortuitous for Micah. What does Micah propose to this young Levite? (Micah offers to set him up in his household to be his personal priest. Since Micah was of the tribe of Ephraim his own son could never be a “real” priest. As it is we don’t know if this Levite could be a “real” priest because we don’t know which of the sons of Levi he came from. A “real” priest can only come from among the sons of Aaron of the family of Kohath. All priests were Levites but not all Levites were priests. Micah would have thought “close enough”. Remember, everyone did as he saw fit.)
How does Micah sound superstitious and his Levite seem like a talisman? (“And Micah said, ‘Now I know that the LORD will be good to me since this Levite has become my priest.’” (Judges 11:13 NIV) This is how we attempt to manipulate God. How successful will that be?)